Need help picking a place for date night
It's short(er) notice, but my husband and I are able to ditch the baby for a Saturday night and have a real NYC night to ourselves for the first time in a while. I am choosing between the following, which I can still get reservations for:
A Voce (probably Columbus)
Collichio & Sons
Daniel (in the Lounge at 10:15)
Mailino (at 10pm)
La Grenouille (at 10pm)
You can see the options are eclectic. I just want good food, I don't care about the cuisine or the neighborhood. I would prefer to eat at around 8:30, but some of the reservations are for around 10pm, which is fine I guess.
We are also open to sitting at the bar at restaurants that don't have tables open - any suggestions for that? (I've never been to Degustation, WD-50, Little Owl, Minetta Tavern, Blue Hill, etc - are those places "no reservations/ bar eating friendly"?)
I don't know how important ambiance is for you, but Boulud Sud is not very romantic - it's so busy and bright! I've read reviews that liken the decor to an airport lounge and I think that's exactly right. Though the food is great, mind you.
The ambiance didn't bother me so much when I was there, but perhaps it would have if I didn't live in Manhattan and didn't get out with my husband often.
Just something to think about.
Some of them are bar eating friendly, yes - I actually prefer dining at the bar at WD-50. But on a Saturday night there might be a bit of a wait for one of those few bar tables, or two seats at the bar proper. Minetta - I wouldn't even bother. I was there recently on, like, a Wednesday, and the bar was mobbed from the moment they opened.
Of the main list, if you just want good food, you can probably cross off The Lion (one star from NYT, zero stars from NY Mag, most other critics on the same page...) and Marble Lane. Also the Four Seasons - the food isn't BAD, at least not in a vacuum - but it's bad for their price point. They're staggeringly overpriced, really just a place for power lunches and Park Avenue types who don't know from food. Crabcakes with Mustard Sauce should not cost $55. Even if Eric Ripert were making them.
BLT Steak I'd also skip. While they're fine, we have better steakhouses.
Otherwise, not a bad list of options. I'm not terribly excited by La Grenouille - I find them overpriced as well, if not as egregiously as TFS. For me, though, once you hit the near-$100 prix fixe range (really over that given that a number of menu options have supplements) I need something more than just well-rendered warhorses. I need to see some creativity on the plate. But they have their adorers to be sure, and for well-rendered warhorses they're arguably one of the best in town.
And, just to confuse matters further, I'm seeing some other options on opentable.com for this Saturday - actually a surprising number of open tables this close to the weekend. Cafe Boulud (better than the pricer Daniel by a mile, IMHO, and as of this writing they have a slightly earlier table too), Aquavit, Corton, and the newly-improved Monkey Bar jump out from the list, just off the top of my head...
Anyway - of the original list I like C&S, Maialino and Boulud Sud the best probably. Of the no-rez group, WD-50 to be sure.
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021
106 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022
3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022
The Four Seasons
99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Colicchio & Sons
85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
62 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011
20 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023
355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011
Thanks SGordon! I have such a long list of restaurants to try. I so wish I could eat out every night but (a) I love to cook and (b) I would just get so fat! It's hard working in Newark and living in Brooklyn too...
I've been to Aquavit so definitely want to try something new. I put in a resey at Boulud Sud, but I'll leave it the the hubby (a non-foodie) if he'd rather do that or try WD-50.
I'm curious to know why you say to skip Marble Lane.